What is sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep condition. During sleep, breathing stops and resumes regularly. Though sleep apnea may not sound very serious, it can lead to some severe complications and related issues in the long run.
In This Article:
What You Should Know About Sleep Apnea
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
People with sleep apnea tend to experience:
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty thinking clearly with a limited attention span
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Breathing disruption occurs when a person’s respiration becomes labored or sometimes stops for up to a minute at a time
- Wake up with a dry mouth
- Morning sore throat
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Chronic snoring
What Causes Sleep Apnea
The causes of sleep apnea can depend on the type of sleep apnea you have. This includes:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
This common apnea happens as the muscles in the back of the throat contract. These muscles protect the soft palate, the sidewalls of the throat, the tonsils, the uvula (a triangular piece of tissue dangling from the soft palate), and the tongue.
Your airway narrows or shuts when you breathe in as your muscles loosen. You’re unable to get enough air which may lower the oxygen level in your blood. When your brain detects that you cannot breathe, it momentarily wakes you up to reopen your airway. This awakening usually is so fleeting that you are unaware of it.
Additionally, you can also gasp, snort, or choke. The pattern will repeat itself from 5 to 30 times or even more each hour during the night, which prevents you from reaching the restful, deep phases of sleep.
Central Sleep Apnea
This rare form of sleep apnea in which the brain struggles to send messages to your respiratory muscles. This means that for a brief amount of time, you make no attempt to breathe. You can awaken with shortness of breath or have difficulty falling or remaining asleep.
Mixed Sleep Apnea
In some rare cases, the person can have both central and obstructive sleep apnea, leading to various unwanted risk factors and complications. Due to low oxygen levels in the body, if left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack,
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Scientists and researchers have found a direct correlation between obesity and sleep apnea. Fat deposits in your upper airway will restrict airflow and prevent muscles from performing their functions. Therefore, exercising, working out, and losing weight are recommended for treating sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is connected with a reduction in blood oxygen saturation. Yoga, with its various breathing techniques, will boost oxygen levels. Exercise regularly will boost your stamina, protect your heart, and help sleep apnea. Yoga, in particular, will boost your respiratory ability and increase oxygen supply. As a result, yoga decreases the number of sleep disruptions.
Use a Humidifier
Humidifiers are air-conditioning systems that apply warmth to the air. The body and respiratory system can be irritated by dry air. Using a humidifier will help to expand the airways, reduce congestion, and promote easier breathing. Try applying lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus oil to a humidifier for additional benefits. These three essential oils are well-known for their anti-inflammatory and calming properties.
Use Oral Appliances
A 2015 guideline for Obstructive Sleep Apnea recommended oral appliance therapy for people with sleep apnea, suggesting custom-fit appliances over non-prescribed alternatives because they make for fine-tuned jaw positioning that leads to improved quality of sleep.
Aside from sleep apnea causes, snoring may be a sign of a medical condition, but not everyone with sleep apnea snores.
If you have signs or symptoms of sleep apnea, consult your doctor.
Have you experienced sleep apnea before? Let us know in the comments section below!